Parish Clergy Wives in Elizabethan England


In Parish Clergy Wives in Elizabethan England, Anne Thompson shifts the emphasis from the institution of clerical marriage to the people and personalities involved. Women who have hitherto been defined by their supposed obscurity and unsuitability are shown to have anticipated and exhibited the character, virtues, and duties associated with the archetypal clergy wife of later centuries.
Through adept use of an extensive and eclectic range of archival material, this book offers insights into the perception and lived experience of ministers’ wives. In challenging accepted views on the social status of clergy wives and their role and reception within the community, new light is thrown on a neglected but crucial aspect of religious, social, and women’s history.

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Anne Thompson, PhD (2016), University of Warwick, was awarded the Sir John H. Elliott Prize for Best Overall Performance in a History MA. She has presented many papers on the lived experience of the wives of the Elizabethan clergy.
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations

1 Better to Marry than to Burn? Attitudes to Clerical Marriage among the Elizabethan Clergy
2 The Making of Clerical Marriages
3 ‘As Common as the Cartway’? The Social Status of Clergy Wives
4 ‘A Mirror of Virtue and Integrity’: Expectations of the Elizabethan Clergy Wife
5 Clerical Marriage and Charitable Giving
6 The Reception of the Clergy Wife: Reactions to a Religious and Social Innovation

Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Scholars and researchers of the Reformation and women’s history, those with a more general interest in religious change and its social impact, and members of the clerical profession.